Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST by Susin Nielsen

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Accidents happen. This is something Petula is only too aware of after the tragic death of her little sister. Accidents happen so often, in fact, that she starts to keep track of them in a scrapbook. Cranes falling. Babies tumbling from open windows. Runners with buds in not hearing approaching cars.

Petula is ready for anything, and isn't going to let something happen. You can't prepare for everything, but being eternally pessimistic does at least up your odds. Her therapeutic art classmates don't quite share her feelings, nor does her former best friend, who she cut contact with when seeing Rachel's little sibling brought too much pain for her.

But Jacob - the new kid in therapy - has his own pile of guilt to go along with his half-bionic arm to replace the natural appendage he lost in a car accident. Flippantly answering any queries with plots from movies (which Petula calls him out on), Jacob manages to draw Petula out of her shell. Soon she's walking past construction sites and scaling graveyard walls in order to help her fellow therapy students address their own issues.

The past is never far though, and a little digging shows Petula that Jacob hasn't been entirely honest with her - or their fellow students. If the new life she's forged for herself is based on a lie, does that mean she should retreat back into her shell?

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3 comments:

Sam Kozbial said...

Loved this book! It was warm and funny and heartfelt. I laughed a ton and shed a few tears.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Being a cat lover, I laughed a lot. Especially the stealth pooping.

strugglingwriter said...

Holy cow. That title plus that cover is just a perfect combination.